Posts Tagged ‘help’

Debt, loan sharks and the impact on mental health

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

In the 21st century, the costs of modern living are abundant and ever-growing. Juggling life’s outgoings can be a tricky task for anyone, and financial struggles are a common occurrence not only in Salford, but nationwide.

One particular problem in the UK is the growing threat of loan sharks i.e. people that offer illegitimate, illegal loans. Typically, loan sharks will agree to lend money without any official paperwork or terms, leaving borrowers susceptible to dramatic increases in interest rates, which they are unable to repay. Loan sharks often use the threat of violence and blackmail to coerce victims in to keeping quiet and agreeing to their terms of repayment. Often but unjustly, loan shark criminals go unreported.

It is widely understood that debt and mental health are symbiotic. Research has revealed that 1 in 2 British adults with debt problems has mental health issues, and 1 in 4 British people with mental health conditions also have a debt problem (HCE Group, 2017). For those entrapped in agreements with loan sharks, the repercussions for their mental health can be severe. The stress, anxiety and fear instilled by growing costs and persistent threats enough to bring on a period of mental ill-health, or intensify someone’s existing conditions.

 

Stress, anxiety and mental health repercussions caused by loan sharks and debt

 

To clamp down on the prevalence of loan sharks, a new campaign designed to encourage victims to come forward and report loan sharks was launched this month. The ‘Why I Borrowed’ campaign, started by The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), aims to expose loan sharking as a crime, tell real life stories of those who have been affected, and help people to free themselves from the illegal entrapment of loan sharks.

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 380 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 328 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £72.5 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 27,500 people.

 

 

 

As the ‘Why I Borrowed’ campaign has highlighted, involvement with loan sharks can have a particularly hostile impact on mental wellbeing; a recent study by IMLT revealed that over 60% of borrowers said they were in a state of worry, stress, depression or severe anxiety because of their involvement with a loan shark. This said, poor mental health as a result of financial strain can manifest itself in many ways.

Here at Mind in Salford, we offer advice to those struggling with debt, as we recognise that tackling such problems alone can be overwhelming and potentially detrimental to mental health. We offer one-to-one, confidential support; helping clients gain perspective by looking in to their rights, and developing a plan for the future. Recently, our team have assisted a client with extensive debts to recoup thousands through recovering mis-sold PPI, and challenging a ruling on the client’s benefits allowance. As a result, our team secured thousands for the individual – a truly transformative amount – enabling the client repay their debts and regain control of their life once again.

If you’ve got money troubles, it’s important not to feel embarrassed about seeking help, because it really could happen to anyone. Our debt and welfare advice services revitalise many people’s ability to plan for the future – a freedom that should be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of their background, income or mental health.

GETTING HELP

  • If you live in Salford and have a mental health condition that as been either intensified or brought on by debt, click here to visit our advice page, where you can find out more about the debt, welfare and benefits advice we offer. Here you will also find a downloadable referral form.
  • If you or someone you know are being affected by loan sharks, visit stoploansharks.co.uk or call the hotline on 0300 555 2222 to report a shark.

Help Mind in Salford This Christmas

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Did you know you can raise money for Mind in Salford by buying presents for your friends and family?

Easyfundraising gathers small donations from the places you shop at online, for example Amazon, E-bay, Argos, and John Lewis , to name but a few. – simply sign up with your name & e-mail and start shopping!

easyfundraising-logo

Please sign up and invite your friends too – the more you invite, the more money we get!

Donating to Mind in Salford

We are looking for donations this year to help Mind in Salford support vulnerable people in the area through its advocacy and mindfulness schemes.

Our advocacy service has seen referrals treble recently, and our mindfulness program currently cannot afford to meet demand for help – and your contribution could make the difference.

Hit the donate button in the top right to see how you can donate.

How your donations can help

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£2500

completely funds an 8 week mindfulness course for 16 people in Salford suffering from mental ill health.[/column]

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£15

pays for the mindfulness course materials for one person (handouts, CDs & more).[/column]

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£150

funds a day’s advocacy, including travel and office costs – supporting disadvantaged people to be heard and treated fairly. [/column]
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Blog – Floating Through Your Anxiety

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

When I was suffering from really bad anxiety a few years ago, I discovered a self-help book by Dr Claire Weekes that helped me immensely.

Dr Claire Weekes was an Australian Psychologist who was very forward thinking and successful in her treatment of people with anxiety and depression. She wrote several bestselling books on the subject too.

One of the central themes of her recovery approach was to ‘float’ through anxiety. When the anxious thoughts and bodily sensations hit you, then simply imagine that you are floating. This act of imagining you are floating relieves both the psychological and physical tension of anxiety and allows the feelings, thoughts and sensations to simply wash over you and eventually pass. Over time this allows us to stop adding our fear of the anxiety to the equation and can lead to a reduction in those anxious feelings and thoughts. It’s breaking that cycle, the fear of the fear.

This is a sharp contrast to how most of us usually react when we are anxious; fighting with the anxiety, battling to stay in control, analysing ourselves, and holding on for just one more moment because we feel if we let go we’ll lose control and fall apart.

Claire Weekes encourages us to practice letting go; there’s no imaginary precipice that we’re going to fall over if we do…

Why not try it now.

Just practice simply letting go.

If you’re sitting let the chair take your full weight

See if you can get a sense of what letting go might mean for you.

If your anxiety builds then just imagine that you’re floating.

Letting the anxious feelings and thoughts just be there as you float, float, float…

And let go.

The more you practice this the easier it gets but you have to give it a little time and be patient. It can help you to overcome your anxiety and panic. It’s the giving up our struggle and fight with anxiety that allows us to recover. It can also help if you’re experiencing sleep problems because of anxiety, simply practice floating until you drop off to sleep.

Like I said, I used all of her techniques when I was experiencing debilitating anxiety several years ago and I can say hand on heart that it helped to set me on the road to recovery.

Books by Claire Weekes:

  • Self Help for Your Nerves: Learn to relax and enjoy life again by overcoming stress and fear
  • Essential Help for Your Nerves: Recover from Nervous Fatigue and Overcome Stress and Fear
  • Markus has also previously written a blog on learning to Hug the Black Dog

    Blog – Talking about Depression…

    Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

    There has been a lot of public debate about mental health recently, specifically relating to depression and suicide.

    Two key phrases I’ve heard repeatedly are ‘ask for help’ and ‘talk more about mental health’. Whilst this is encouraging I feel these sentiments can be misconstrued to place all the responsibility on dealing with depression with the person suffering from depression.

    Asking for help is not always easy – depression often goes hand in hand with low self esteem, and without being prompted, without being asked, there can be a tendency to think that others do not care how you are, and that you are not important enough to be helped.

    Talking about mental health is not always easy – constantly having to find a way to explain what it is like, that depression is a fatiguing & debilitating condition, not just being a little sad; that the anxiety you have is a little different to feeling a little afraid of flying.

    Media stereotypes of other conditions make talking about them even harder – trying to explain the terror involved in OCD without someone thinking it’s a big joke, trying to explain the voices in schizophrenia without someone thinking you are a ‘crazed mental patient’.

    How do I help someone who is suffering?

    In the age of the internet, with Google, Wikipedia and mental health resources like Mind at your fingertips, why does the person who is ill have to justify themselves repeatedly? If you care about someone, look up the condition, understand it a bit more, and ask considerate questions of the person who is ill. Often it can feel like you are being asked to prove that there is really something wrong with you, rather than the asker showing compassion for the person suffering.

    One of the biggest things you can do for someone who is depressed is to ask them how they are and to spend some time with them. Show them you care. Don’t shun them because they are finding it difficult to talk to people or socialise – withdrawal is a symptom of the illness.

    It’s also important to talk about more than just mental health – because someone is ill doesn’t mean they become just the illness. Talk about your own life too, talk about football, films, music, celebrities or even (grimace) tennis if that’s what you would normally talk about with the person.

    It can be extremely soul destroying suffering from mental health problems, finding out that you don’t have complete control over your mind. Some people don’t want to talk about their mental health problems – but that doesn’t mean you don’t talk to them at all! Most people still need to feel wanted, to have some evidence to counter the misinformation about their self worth coming from their own minds.

    How do I find out more about mental health

    It’s important if you haven’t experienced mental health issues to be aware of its effects so you can help those close to you. It’s important if you have a mental health condition to understand that you are not alone, that others suffer the same and (sooner or later) recover their health.

    I’ve previously written about anxiety, depression and me, and our manager Markus has written about how he learnt to hug the black dog. There are many more really good mental health blogs out there – Time to Change is a good place to start, and I’m a fan of Black Dog Runner’s blog too.

    At Mind in Salford we run Mental Health Awareness Training for organisations, helping them to support and understand people better. The training helps you to be more aware of the actual symptoms of mental health issues, re-thinking the tabloid stigmas and thinking about how you can help everyone’s mental health, whether they have mental health problems or not.

    As stated above, Mind also have many well written guides to various mental health conditions and other related topics, and Time to Change have some basic myth-busters and tips on talking to people who are ill.